How to make winter grilling a little more comfortable

Winter BBQ

It’s an age-old dilemma: you want juicy grilled steaks, but it’s -15 outside. You don’t want to smoke up your kitchen, so cooking them inside is less than ideal (although it can be done). You can’t move your grill somewhere more sheltered, because, well, carbon monoxide and other nasty complications.

What do you do, what do you do?

As the old saying goes, there’s really no such thing as bad weather—just bad preparation. Here’s how to make outdoor winter grilling as comfortable as possible.

Fail to plan, plan to fail

You want to spend as little time outdoors as possible, so make sure you get everything together beforehand. Meat, veggies, grilling  tools, baking soda for grease fires—gather it all up before you head outside. Shovel a path to the grill so carrying things is as easy as possible, and clear snow off the grill and side shelves. Finally, plan to preheat the grill longer in the winter than in the summer to combat the cold and wind.

Position your grill properly

Don’t place it close to vinyl siding or an overhang, but do move it so it’s at a 90-degree angle to the wind—this will help keep the flames consistent. if you can’t reposition your grill, consider using a couple of pieces of plywood to form a wind-break.

Bundle up

Don’t be a hero and try to grill in your slippers. Put on your jacket, hat, and boots before you head out—just don’t wear a scarf with dangly tassels, for obvious fire safety reasons. Use fire-resistant gloves or mitts rather than your usual winter pair.

Make sure you can see

If your grill isn’t well lit by exterior house lights, a headlamp will keep your hands free. You can also find barbecue tools with lights in their handles.

Don’t lift the lid

Every time you lift the lid, you add 10 minutes of cooking time, so keep the lid closed unless you absolutely have to peek. A remote digital meat thermometer can help you monitor food temps and allows you to stay inside while your dinner sizzles. Be aware that food will take longer to cook, but cooking smaller cuts can decrease your time if you’ve got hungry people at the dinner table.

What are some of your tips for grilling throughout the year?